WO1997033180A1 - Probe for fault actuation devices - Google Patents

Probe for fault actuation devices Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1997033180A1
WO1997033180A1 PCT/EP1997/001096 EP9701096W WO9733180A1 WO 1997033180 A1 WO1997033180 A1 WO 1997033180A1 EP 9701096 W EP9701096 W EP 9701096W WO 9733180 A1 WO9733180 A1 WO 9733180A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
transistor
probe
characterised
per
point
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/EP1997/001096
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Piero Belforte
Flavio Maggioni
Original Assignee
Cselt Centro Studi E Laboratori Telecomunicazioni S.P.A.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to IT96TO000168 priority Critical patent/IT1285299B1/en
Priority to ITTO96A000168 priority
Application filed by Cselt Centro Studi E Laboratori Telecomunicazioni S.P.A. filed Critical Cselt Centro Studi E Laboratori Telecomunicazioni S.P.A.
Publication of WO1997033180A1 publication Critical patent/WO1997033180A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01RMEASURING ELECTRIC VARIABLES; MEASURING MAGNETIC VARIABLES
    • G01R31/00Arrangements for testing electric properties; Arrangements for locating electric faults; Arrangements for electrical testing characterised by what is being tested not provided for elsewhere
    • G01R31/28Testing of electronic circuits, e.g. by signal tracer
    • G01R31/2832Specific tests of electronic circuits not provided for elsewhere
    • G01R31/2836Fault-finding or characterising
    • G01R31/2839Fault-finding or characterising using signal generators, power supplies or circuit analysers
    • G01R31/2841Signal generators

Abstract

The probe (10) comprises a transistor (12) of which, in use, the collector and the emitter are connected to the fault insertion point (Pi) and to a reference signal level (M; ±Vcc), respectively. The fault insertion is carried out by bringing the transistor to saturation condition. The effects of the parasitic capacitive coupling between the collector and the base of the transistor (12) are eliminated by placing, between the base and the emitter, a capacitor (19) whose capacitance is substantially higher than said parasitic capacitance. Means (20) for monitoring the current absorbed in correspondence with the fault insertion point are also provided.

Description

PROBE FOR FAULT ACTUATION DEVICES

The invention described herein relates in general to the so-called fault actuation or insertion techniques used to test the operation of electronic equiDment. In electronic equipment and systems (especially if very complex: by way of non limiting example, reference can be made to switching exchanges of telecommunications networks), the need often arises to check the behaviour of the equipment and of the system in the presence of particular fault conditions. This check can be carried out net only in the testing phase, but it may be a part of the fault diagnosis and/or identification or of automatic reconfiguration functions which often are provided for in such equipment and systems to ensure that the equipment can still operate (at least in part) even in the presence of faults.

In digital equipment, the types of fault to be actuated or inserted (hereafter the terms "actuation" and "insertion" shall be used as synonyms) at the hardware level generally entail forcing certain points of the equipment to a pre-set signal level, corresponding for example to a logic "0" or to a logic "1 ". A solution conventionally adopted in the art has thus been to establish, in correspondence with the point to be forced to the pre-set signal level, an electrical connection (usually by means of a jumper) towards the ground level or a given power supply level (÷V„C or -Vcc). This solution is not particularly easy to be put in practice, also in view of its in¬ trinsically "fixed" nature: once the jumper has been applied, the point involved is constantly maintained at the signal level to which the jumper is connected. Hence, it is not possible quickly to monitor the reaction of the equipment at the moment the fault is inserted and/or, which can be of no less interest, at the moment the fault is eliminated.

To overcome these drawbacks, a solution has been proposed, at least at the experimental level, which entails connecting electrical conductors, coming out of the equipment under test, to the fault insertion points. Such conductors lead to a set of electromechanical switches (such as, typically, relays) which allow the required connec¬ tions to the reference voltages to be established.

This solution cannot be considered fully satisfactory, for several reasons.

First, it is intrinsically cumbersome. Additionally, the conductors connected to the fault insertion points always disturb the equipment being tested. Thus, the fault conditions simulated for the test do not exactly correspond, from the electrical point of view, to the fault conditions likely to occur in the equipment (this is particularly true when current absorption at the fault point is also to be measured). Further, the conductors disturb the operation of the equipment even under regular service conditions, i.e. when there is no fault actuation.

Thus, there is a need to provide a solution capable of overcoming the problems set out above and in particular a solution which:

- makes reproducing fault conditions very flexible, in order to allow a substantially instantaneous switching from the normal operating condition to the simulated fault condition of the equipment under test;

- does not disturb the operation of the equipment both when a fault is being simulated and under normal operating conditions of equipment, with no faults applied,

- is intrinsically not cumbersome, in order to allow simultaneous or nearly simultaneous fault insertion into a number of points of an equipment under test, for instance points belonging to a board inserted in a cabinet, according to a typical constructive embodi¬ ment of complex electronic equipment, and

- allows automating testing operations.

Additionally, it should also be noted that the devices required, at least as concerns the components (probes) directly used for connection to the equipment under test, should have a negligible cost: thus they can be left in place once the test has been completed, that is, they can be single-use products.

According to the present invention, this goal is reached thanks to a device in which the probes for forcing a point of an electronic equipment under test to a given signal level comprise each: - a transistor whose collector and emitter can be connected respectively to said point and to said given signal level,

- control means acting on the base of the transistor to selectively switch the transistor between a cut-off condition and a saturation condition, the saturation condition of the transistor causing, in use, said point to be forced to said given signal level, and - a capacitor connected between the base and the emitter of the transistor; said capaci¬ tor having a substantially higher capacitance value than the value of the parasitic capacitance existing between the collector and the base of the transistor. The invention shall now be described, purely by way of non-limiting example, with reference to the enclosed drawings, wherein: - Figure 1 depicts, as a general block diagram, the typical configuration of a fault actuation device, in conjunction with an equipment tested by using such a system,

- Figures 2 through 5 show circuit diagrams of four different embodiments of a probe for fault actuation devices according to the invention, and

- Figure 6 represents an example of practical construction of a probe according to the invention.

In Figure 1 , A denotes the whole of an electronic equipment to be tested according to typical fault insertion procedures. By way of non-limiting example, equipment A could be a digital switching exchange of a telecommunications system or a part of that exchange (for instance the set of circuits located on a board C). In the same Figure, references P1 , P2 indicate, by way of example, two points of board C where a fault is to be inserted. Of course any number of points throughout the equipment can be involved, depending on the application requirements. As it has already been stated, inserting a fault entails, in practice, forcing the point involved (hereafter generally indicated as Pi) to a pre-set signal level, for instance 0 V (ground voltage) or ±5 V (i.e. a +VCC power supply voltage). The signal levels indicated usually correspond, in a digital equipment, to logic levels'O" and

Equipment A is usually associated with a system A1 (forming an integral part of the equipment) for identifying/diagnosing faults and/or for reconfiguring equipment A to make it resistant to the onset of particular faults. The features of such a system are known in themselves to those skilled in the art, and they do not require to be illustrated specifically herein, since they are not of interest for the understanding of the invention.

As previously indicated, the invention specifically faces the problem of inserting a fault into a specific point Pi, regardless of the reaction induced by the fault insertion into equipment A and of the monitoring of that reaction. Fault insertion into point Pi is accomplished by a device 1 comprising one or more probes 10 (possibly of the single-use type) which form the specific subject matter of the present invention. In practice, device 1 may comprise, for instance, a more or less complex logic network 2 arranged to supply probe(s) 10 associated therewith with command signals aimed at causing the operation of each probe in ways that will be better described further on. The probes can be temporarily or permanently connected to points Pi. In a preferred embodiment, network 2 is controlled by a control unit 3 comprising an electronic processor which causes fault insertion into the different points according to a desired schedule and which possibly is also capable of dialoguing with system A1 to co- ordinate fault actuation with the monitoring of the behaviour of system A1 and equipment

A.

In the exemplary embodiments shown in Figures 4 and 5, each probe is also associated with a feedback unit able to send back towards device 1 a signal indicating current absorption in correspondence with fault insertion point Pi. This indication can be particularly interesting in those situations where the fault brings about an anomalous stress

(for instance, a short-circuit load) on a unit like a driver, so that it is important to determine the intensity of the overload, in terms of delivered current, applied to that driver as an effect of the fault.

In all embodiments depicted in Figures 2 through 5, the basic component of probe 10 is a transistor 12, which preferably is an n-p-n bipolar transistor in the solutions shown in Figures 2 and 4 (relating to a probe which allows forcing the respective point Pi to ground voltage M) and is a p-n-p bipolar transistor in the solutions shown in Figures 3 and 5 (relating to a probe which allows forcing the respective fault point Pi to a fixed, Dositive reference voltage +VCC). In practice, in all embodiments shown, the collector of transistor 12 corresponds to the terminal of probe 10 meant to be permanently or temporarily connected to the fault insertion point Pi. The emitter of transistor 12, on the other hand, corresponds to the terminal of the probe meant to be connected, here too permanently or temporarily, to the pre-set signal level. The same connection configuration can also be adopted for ECL logic circuits, operating between 0 V (ground M) and -5 V (-Vco), by connecting the emitter of transistor 12 to voltage -Vcc (Figures 2 and 4) and to ground voltage (Figures 3 and 5), respectively. In more general terms, the solutions using an n-p-n transistor (Figures 2 and 4) allow forcing point Pi, connected to the transistor collector, to the lower one of the reference voltage levels, i.e. (typically 0 Volts) or -Vcc (e.g. -5V). The solution with p-n-p transistor (Figures 3 and 5) allows instead to force point Pi to the higher reference voltage level, i.e. +VCC or M, respectively.

In the diagrams of Figs. 2 and 3, probe 10 is connected to control device 1 for instance by means of a coaxial cable of which shield 14 is connected to the reference voltage (ground M or power supply voltage ±VCC), and hence to the emitter of transistor 12, and internal conductor 16 is connected to the base of transistor 12 through a bias resistor 18 whose resistance is, for example, of the order or 100 Ohm.

By the arrangement described, when transistor 12 is in cut-off condition the emitter and collector terminals can be seen as electrically insulated from each other, so that probe 10, even if it is connected to the fault insertion point (Pi), actually has no impact on equipment A (except for the considerations that follow). The manner for obtaining the cut¬ off condition are well known. When transistor 12 is brought to a saturation condition - in an equally known manner - the transistor will behave as a short circuit between the collector and emitter terminals. Point Pi is actually connected to ground level (Figures 2 and 4) or to power supply voltage Vcc (Figures 3 and 5). Under these conditions, the required fault insertion is accomplished.

The solutions shown in Figures 4 and 5 differ from the solutions shown in Figures 2 and 3, respectively, because of the presence of a resistor 20 whose resistance is, for example, of the order of one Ohm. Resistor 20 is preferably connected in series with the emitter of transistor 12. Thus the current flowing in transistor 12 (between collector and emitter) when transistor 12 is in saturation condition, i.e. when the failure insertion is being performed, passes through resistor 20. The voltage across resistor 20 is a signal represen¬ tative of the value of that current, which signal can be sent back towards device 1 through a feedback line, also comprising for example a coaxial cable with a shield 21 (usually connected electrically via 22 to shield 14 of the cable driving the base of transistor 12) and an internal conductor 23 connected to the emitter of transistor 12. As a consequence, cable 21 , 23 carries a signal which is representative of current absorption in corresponden¬ ce with fault insertion point Pi, thus allowing indications to be obtained on the electrical load induced on equipment A by the fault insertion.

The behaviour just described in order to illustrate the general operating principles of probe 10 according to the invention constitutes an ideal model which fails to take into account the presence of the parasitic capacitance (CCB) between collector and base of transistor 12. Due to the existence of that capacitance, whose value is of the order of one picofarad (pF), the presence of probe 10 connected to point Pi is not fully without influence, particularly when fault insertion is not being performed. To understand this, reference is made to the diagram in Figure 2 (the situation is identical for the diagram in Figure 4 and complementary for the diagrams in Figures 3 and 5).

Under normal operating conditions of the equipment, i.e. when fault insertion is not being performed, the level of point Pi varies depending on the behaviour of the signals which are present at that point (generally, binary signals). By way of example, point Pi will switch between ground level M (logic "0") and level V (logic "1"). In correspondence with the rising edges of the signal present on point Pi, the parasitic capacitance present between the collector and the base of transistor 12 tends to create such an electrical coupling between those terminals as to bring, at least for a brief instant, the base of transistor 12 to a level sufficient to make the base-emitter junction conduct. Consequently, there is a current flow through the collector and the emitter of transistor 12 itself. This results, in practice, into a rather "distorted" rising edge, that is voltage on point Pi does not grow steeply (step voltage) but rather with a more or less rounded edge influenced by the conduction phase induced into transistor 12. The behaviour in the case of Figure 4 is wholly similar. In the solutions depicted in

Figures 3 and 5, on the other hand, a similar phenomenon affects the falling edges. In this case as well, the parasitic capacitive coupling between the collector and the base of transistor 12 is such as to make, at least for a brief interval, the emitter-base junction conduct. Thus transistor 12, at least temporarily, conducts and thus, again, "distorts" the aforesaid falling edges.

To ooviate the aforesaid drawback, according to the invention a capacitor 19 is directly connected between the base and the emitter of transistor 12, said capacitor having a capacitance value generally higher, preferably by at least two orders of magnitude (hence a capacitance, for example, of 100 pF) than the parasitic capacitance existing between the collector and the base.

As shown by Applicant's experiments, and as can also be ascertained analytically, the presence of capacitor 19 is such as to contrast (and, for practical purposes, to cancel out) the tracking of the collector of transistor 12 by the transistor base due to the parasitic capacitive coupling existing between those terminals. In practice, thanks to the presence of capacitor 19 (a choice that goes against the conventional design rules for transistor circuits), probe 10 does not appreciably disturb equipment A, while performing, very precisely and reliably, failure insertion at local level (thus avoiding the typical drawbacks of those solutions which entail a sort of "transfer" of point Pi to the outside through longer or shorter conductors). The probe according to the invention is preferably manufactured as depicted schematically in Figure 6.

The body of probe 10, comprising circuit elements 12, 18, 19 (and, in the case of the embodiment shown in Figures 4 and 5, resistor 20), is preferably made as a miniaturi- sed circuit, for instance with SMD (Surface Mounting Device) technology. The probe body thus appears as a small container, usually dipped in resin, whose size is of the order of a few millimetres. Two terminals 120, 121 , corresponding to the emitter and to the collector of transistor 12, come out from the container and are meant for connection to board C in the way described above. Figure 6 (which specifically refers to the embodiment depicted in Figures 4 and 5) shows the shields of two coaxial cables for connection to device 1 , which cables are equipped with respective connectors 140, 210 at the end remote from the probe body. Obviously, in the embodiment shown in Figures 2 and 3 only one cable is present. Using coaxial connection cables is advantageous for the purpose of exactly maintaining the signal waveforms, especially with regard to absorbed current monitoring (resistor 20 and cable 21 , 23).

Of course, without changing the principles of the invention, the construction details may be changed widely with respect to what has been described and illustrated above. This applies in particular to the possibility of replacing transistor 12 with a component with equivalent operating characteristics. The term "transistor", and in particular the term

"bipolar transistor", as they are used in the claims that follow, are thus to be taken to include such equivalent electronic devices as well; this also holds true for the terms "collector", "emitter" and "base", identifying the terminals of a bipolar transistor.

Claims

1 . Probe for fault actuation devices (1 ), arranged to force a point (Pi) of an electronic equipment (A) under test to a given signal level (M; ±VCC), characterised in that the probe (10) comprises: - a transistor (12) whose collector and emitter can be connected respectively to said point (Pi) and to said given signal level (M; ±VCC),
- control means (14, 16, 18) acting on the base of the transistor (12) to selectively switch the transistor (12) between a cut-off condition and a saturation condition, the saturation condition of the transistor (12) causing, in use, said point (Pi) to be forced to said given signal level (M; ±VCC), and
- a capacitor (19) connected between the base and the emitter of the transistor (12); said capacitor having a substantially higher capacitance value than the value of the parasitic capacitance existing between the collector and the base of the transistor (12).
2. Probe as per claim 1 , characterised in that the capacitance of said capacitor (19) is higher by about two orders of magnitudes than said parasitic capacitance.
3. Probe as per claim 2, characterised in that the capacitance of said capacitor(19) is of the order of about 100 picofarad.
4. Probe as per any of the claims 1 to 3, characterised in that said transistor (12) is a bipolar transistor.
5. Probe as per claim 4, characterised in that said transistor (12) is an n-p-n transistor so that, in use, said probe is arranged to force said point (Pi) to a minimum signal level (M; -Vcc).
6. Probe as per claim 4, characterised in that said transistor (12) is a p-n-p transistor so that, in use, said probe is arranged to force said point (Pi) to a maximum signal level (+VCC; M).
7. Probe as per any of the previous claims, characterised in that the emitter of the transistor (12) is associated with a resistor (20) where, when the transistor (12) is in saturation condition, the current flowing between the transistor collector and emitter passes, a voltage representative of the current absorption in correspondence with said point (Pi) when the point itself is forced to said given signal level (M; ±VCC) being present across said resistor (20).
8. Probe as per any of the previous claims, characterised in that it is manufactured as a miniaturised circuit.
9. Probe as per claim 8, characterised in that it is manufactured as an SMD circuit.
10. Probe as per claim 8 or 9, characterised in that it comprises protruding conducting terminals (120, 121 ) corresponding to the collector and to the emitter of said transistor (12).
11. Probe as per any of the previous claims, characterised in that said control means (14, 16, 18) comprise at least one coaxial connection cable (14, 16).
12. Probe as per claim 7, characterised in that said resistor (20) is associated with at least one coaxial cable (21 , 23) to convey a signal representative of said current absorption to the fault actuation device.
PCT/EP1997/001096 1996-03-06 1997-03-05 Probe for fault actuation devices WO1997033180A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
IT96TO000168 IT1285299B1 (en) 1996-03-06 1996-03-06 Probe for fault actuation devices
ITTO96A000168 1996-03-06

Applications Claiming Priority (8)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
AT97908176T AT206525T (en) 1996-03-06 1997-03-05 Probe for fault activation devices
US09/117,969 US6320390B1 (en) 1996-03-06 1997-03-05 Probe for fault actuation devices
JP53146097A JP3201611B2 (en) 1996-03-06 1997-03-05 Probe for fault actuation device
AU20240/97A AU708184B2 (en) 1996-03-06 1997-03-05 Probe for fault actuation devices
EP97908176A EP0885397B1 (en) 1996-03-06 1997-03-05 Probe for fault actuation devices
DE1997607108 DE69707108T2 (en) 1996-03-06 1997-03-05 Probe for fault activation devices
DE1997607108 DE69707108D1 (en) 1996-03-06 1997-03-05 Probe for fault activation devices
NO983884A NO983884L (en) 1996-03-06 1998-08-24 Probe for feilaktiveringsanordninger

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO1997033180A1 true WO1997033180A1 (en) 1997-09-12

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PCT/EP1997/001096 WO1997033180A1 (en) 1996-03-06 1997-03-05 Probe for fault actuation devices

Country Status (12)

Country Link
US (1) US6320390B1 (en)
EP (1) EP0885397B1 (en)
JP (1) JP3201611B2 (en)
AT (1) AT206525T (en)
AU (1) AU708184B2 (en)
CA (1) CA2248315A1 (en)
DE (2) DE69707108D1 (en)
ES (1) ES2166069T3 (en)
IT (1) IT1285299B1 (en)
NO (1) NO983884L (en)
PT (1) PT885397E (en)
WO (1) WO1997033180A1 (en)

Families Citing this family (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
JP4275583B2 (en) * 2004-06-24 2009-06-10 ユーディナデバイス株式会社 Electronic module
US7609080B2 (en) * 2005-03-22 2009-10-27 Formfactor, Inc. Voltage fault detection and protection

Citations (2)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4489247A (en) * 1981-03-18 1984-12-18 Tokyo Shibaura Denki Kabushiki Kaisha Integrated injection logic circuit with test pads on injector common line
JPS62183215A (en) * 1986-02-07 1987-08-11 Hitachi Ltd Semiconductor integrated circuit device

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE2363360B1 (en) * 1973-12-20 1975-06-05 Koerting Radio Werke Gmbh, 8211 Grassau
US4309657A (en) * 1980-01-09 1982-01-05 Burroughs Corporation Apparatus for analyzing semiconductor memories
EP0262367A1 (en) 1986-09-30 1988-04-06 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Mechanical probe for the measurement of time-dependent electrical signals
US4841240A (en) * 1988-01-29 1989-06-20 American Telephone And Telegraph Company, At&T Bell Laboratories Method and apparatus for verifying the continuity between a circuit board and a test fixture

Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4489247A (en) * 1981-03-18 1984-12-18 Tokyo Shibaura Denki Kabushiki Kaisha Integrated injection logic circuit with test pads on injector common line
JPS62183215A (en) * 1986-02-07 1987-08-11 Hitachi Ltd Semiconductor integrated circuit device

Non-Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 012, no. 026 (E - 577) 26 January 1988 (1988-01-26) *

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
NO983884L (en) 1998-08-24
DE69707108D1 (en) 2001-11-08
US6320390B1 (en) 2001-11-20
ES2166069T3 (en) 2002-04-01
ITTO960168D0 (en) 1996-03-06
ITTO960168A1 (en) 1997-09-08
PT885397E (en) 2002-03-28
EP0885397A1 (en) 1998-12-23
CA2248315A1 (en) 1997-09-12
AT206525T (en) 2001-10-15
EP0885397B1 (en) 2001-10-04
NO983884D0 (en) 1998-08-24
IT1285299B1 (en) 1998-06-03
AU708184B2 (en) 1999-07-29
JP3201611B2 (en) 2001-08-27
DE69707108T2 (en) 2002-11-07
AU2024097A (en) 1997-09-22
JPH11505031A (en) 1999-05-11

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